A third cruise vessel was reportedly hired on Monday by the World Cup organizers based in Qatar to operate as a soccer fan hotel. It will be docked at the Doha Port, adding room for the upcoming tournament.
Geneva-based MSC Cruises declared the agreement six weeks before the World Cup kick-start on 20 November. The MSC Opera, with its 1,075 cabins, will be available from 19 November to 19 December.
The rates for the Opera were listed on Monday on MSC’s official website starting from 470 Swiss francs per head and per night at the group stage, with a minimum of a two-night stay.
Qatar doesn’t have the hotel capacity for teams, volunteers, workers, and fans at the World Cup. It is developing cabin and camping sites, hiring cruise vessels, and encouraging fans staying in neighbouring nations to fly in for the games.
MSC signed a deal in 2019 with the Qatari government to provide two ships with about 4,000 cabins. The vessel would serve as a floating hotel to house the estimated 1.2 million visitors.
The advanced flagship, MSC World Europa, is expected to start its operation at the World Cup after being entirely constructed in France.
The prices on the cruise ships fall during the tournament when half the teams go home. During the round of 16 and quarterfinals, the cheapest rooms available on the MSC Opera are worth 320 Swiss francs, then 220 Swiss francs in the final week. The introductory rates include an onboard breakfast with an option to contribute a 90-euro daily meal supplement. Alcohol may be available on board, with MSC offering draft beer and wine.
Qatar is a Muslim-majority nation that generates limits alcohol consumption to luxury hotels. However, it has eased its rules for the commercial partners of FIFA, including the corporate hospitality provider at stadiums and World Cup sponsor AB InBev, the Budweiser brewer.
The MSC Opera embarked on its maiden voyage in 2004 and had quite an eventful sailing phase three years back. In 2019 (March), passengers suspected of smuggling 18 kilograms of cocaine hidden in packets and bowls of snacks were reportedly arrested when the vessel was docked at the island of Madeira after it sailed from the Caribbean. Fast forward three months, the Opera allegedly collided with a tourist boat and its dock in Venice.
References: Hindustan Times, ABC News
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